Rising Pune Supergiant owner Sanjiv Goenka has labelled Steve Smith, current Pune captain, as sharper than MS Dhoni, former Pune captain. However, the RPS owner did not shy away from calling MSD one of the greatest minds and the best wicket-keeper in the world. This comes after Sanjiv’s brother Harsh Goenka’s controversial tweets against MS Dhoni.
Speaking to Hindustan Times, Goenka was all praises for two most senior men in the RPS team. Interestingly, Dhoni was removed as Pune captain ahead of this season and was replaced by Smith. The Pune-based franchise after finishing seventh in the previous season are now one win away from IPL title.
“MS is one of the greatest minds I have interacted with. And he is the best wicket-keeper in the world. The one mind ahead of Dhoni’s is (Steven) Smith’s,” Goenka told HT. Also Read- IPL 2017: Steven Smith hails MS Dhoni after Wankhede heroics
“My brief to Smith was – ‘win the championship’. It’s difficult to believe the way he has planned some dismissals; the tact and firmness with which he has dealt with tricky situations and the win-or-nothing attitude he has been able to infuse into the team (and) get them to gel as a unit,” he added.
Goenka further said: “You need to win eight (or) nine games to make the playoffs and Smith told me that between him, (Imran) Tahir and (Ben) Stokes, we would win seven. And players of the calibre of MS will always give you something. We had more match winners this time, players who would need five (to) six balls to settle down instead of 20. And we had not factored in Rahul Tripathi, Washington Sundar and Jaydev Unadkat. Tripathi and Sundar are going to be serious players on the Indian cricket scene.”
Speaking on how RPS managed to lift themselves up after a forgettable last season Goenka said that the younger and fitter team has helped a lot.
“The first season was a disaster and I wanted it to end soonest, with our dignity intact. The team got younger, fitter and more energetic. So, we have fielded better. This time, with whom players’ loyalties lay didn’t matter,” he said. Also Read- IPL 2017: Rising Pune Supergiant didn’t miss Ben Stokes thanks to MS Dhoni
“We didn’t want to be like a franchise that doesn’t invest its Rs 66 crore purse and is happy finishing fifth, but last year I didn’t know better. Also, with the World T20 around, we didn’t have time,” Goenka added.
RPS will take on Mumbai Indians in the finals of IPL 2017. The two sides have met thrice this season, including the first qualifier, and Pune has emerged victorious on all the three occasions. While it is the maiden final appearance for RPS, MI will feature in its fourth IPL final.